Thursday, September 18, 2008

Foxx Introduces New Legislation

The following is a press release from NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx

Foxx bill sheds light on impact of federal laws, regulations
Legislation gives local governments, employers access to critical cost estimates

Washington, DC—U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx today introduced bipartisan legislation that will shed light on how federal policies impact the budgets of state and local governments and businesses. The legislation fixes loopholes in a 1995 law that reined in expensive and unfunded federal mandates. Ultimately, this legislation will help states and small businesses better manage and forecast their budgetary needs.

“State and local governments and small business owners are all too familiar with the financial burden of new federal laws and regulations,” Rep. Foxx said. “During these difficult economic times North Carolinians rely on small businesses and local governments for jobs and for services like healthcare, education and job training. My bill holds the federal government accountable to the public by exposing the hidden costs of federal policies.”

The purpose of this bipartisan legislation (The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2008) is to enhance transparency, accountability, and awareness of federal mandates. It amends the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), which ensured public awareness of the crushing financial burden of federal mandates on employers and state and local governments.

UMRA’s main objective in 1995 was to force the federal government to estimate how much unfunded mandates would cost local governments and businesses and rein in out of control mandates. Foxx’s bill expands the scope of UMRA by closing loopholes that allowed certain policies to escape its reporting requirements.

“New, costly regulations and legislation are often created with little thought for how they will squeeze local governments and employers,” Foxx said. “By updating this law, we can ensure that Congress and the public are aware of how federal policies financially impact the people we serve.”

Foxx’s bill also requires the federal government to report on how changing the requirements for existing federal grant programs would shift costs to local governments. For instance, grant programs—such as No Child Left Behind—that are administered by states are often altered by federal legislation. Under this bill the federal government would have to report how such changes could negatively impact state or local government budgets.

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